Jaded Jewels (The Coveted Saga #2)(5)By: C.M. Owens
A black SUV was sitting in the driveway—off to the side. I climbed out of my car and studied the unknown vehicle as I walked into the house. I could hear people talking in sad voices and saying they were sorry. It sounded like a funeral procession. I guess it kind of was.
I wasn't sure if I should interrupt, but I hated to just walk upstairs. I was conflicted about which one would be ruder. So I weighed my options, started and stopped several times, and finally groaned before heading up the stairs. Then I turned towards the den. Then I stopped and turned back toward the stairs while shaking my head.
Finally, Ash came to put me out of my misery.
"Aria? Can you come to the den? We have some guests."
The saddened undertones of her usually chipper voice worried me. If Ash was upset, it couldn't be good. I nodded and followed her into the den where everyone was already assembled.
"Arisianna, I would like you to meet Henry. He's here from California. He just lost his family, and he's going to be staying here for a while," Iris said, gesturing toward the new face.
His long, lean body sat there, misery lacing his posture and forcing a weakened slump. I couldn't imagine that sort of loss. His sandy blonde hair hung in his eyes while he kept his head hung low. The tears in Iris's eyes threatened to flood her face, but she held them back, trying to be strong.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I murmured uncomfortably.
I felt awkward as I stumbled for something better to say, but there was nothing. I didn't know him, so how could I say something more appropriate?
"Thanks," he muttered with an obligatory breath.
His voice was meek, like he was exhausted. But he didn't look as dreadful as I'm sure he felt. He was young, maybe twenty-two—or one-hundred-and-twenty-two. Who knew around here?
He had light, sandy blonde hair, and he was in desperate need of a haircut. He wasn't doing well with the shag look, but I'm sure he had other things that held priority over his hair at the moment.
When he looked up to meet my gaze, his blue eyes were stunning. He was attractive, so I tried to break eye contact quickly. I didn't need to accidentally make anyone else have feelings for me. The whole mortal and immortal crazy links were driving me crazy.
He smirked slightly, almost like he knew what I was doing. Or maybe he just noticed me checking him out and misconstrued it for attraction.
"He's asked to help out and go to school with you for added protection. He enrolled this morning.” Iris handed him a key. "You can stay with Arisianna on the third floor. There's an extra room. We have some things to do in town, but you can go ahead and start getting settled in. Arisianna will show you the room we've prepared for you. Just call me if you need anything, or if you have any problems."
Iris changed into her old lady face, which gave me a few unwanted chills. It was hard to get use to her flip-flopping back and forth between the two.
Henry followed me up the stairs, never speaking. I showed him to his room and fidgeted uneasily as I tried to figure out if I should talk or walk away. I mean, really? Couldn't someone have coached me up a little better? I'd never been in that situation before.
Finally, I decided to ask for his input on the matter. "I'm sorry. I really am a socially awkward person and I have no idea what to do. Should I say something or just walk away and give you some space?"
He laughed ever so slightly, seeming to be pleased with my honesty. "Please, stay. I need socially awkward. It's been a rough day with everyone's condolences. I would like to just have a regular conversation with someone who doesn't have the perfect thing to say."
He was in luck, because I never said anything perfect.
I pulled up a chair and sat with my arms crossed in front of my chest. "So how old are you?"
He smiled and cut his eyes toward the floor before answering. "I'm twenty-one."
My head bobbed with a bit of a laugh. "So, how old are you, really?"
His smile spread, and for a second, it seemed as though he was distracted from his pain.
"One-hundred-and-ten. My mom was witch and my dad was bodyguard—just like your sister and Chris."
"So, what is your amazing power?"
"Your grandmother has asked me not to say it aloud. She feels like someone is watching the house and the family. She thinks it's safer to keep what I can do a secret, until she can find out for sure."